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Lawton Oklahoma Personal Injury Law Blog

Report shows racial disparity in breast cancer survival rate

A report from the American Cancer Society revealed that breast cancer deaths fell 39 percent between 1989 and 2015 thanks to advances in medicine and early detection methods. At the same time, the organization expressed concern over another trend affecting Oklahoma and the rest of the country: an increase in the proportion of African-American women who die from breast cancer compared to women of other races. According to reports from 2015, black women have a 39 percent less chance of surviving than white women do.

Several factors have been suggested. Though education is no longer an issue and black women are actually more likely to get mammograms than white women, poverty prevents many from obtaining proper health care. Black women have limited access to preventive care and to drugs like Tamoxifen. Discrimination at health care facilities may be another factor.

Legislators seek to revive sleep apnea rule

After a possible rule on obstructive sleep apnea testing criteria for referral for truck drivers was tabled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, legislators in both the House and the Senate have introduced bills to push the FMCSA to establish the rule and administer it in Oklahoma and around the country. The lack of clear criteria has led to confusion about what criteria to use and concern over sleep apnea testing and treatment companies as well as doctors taking advantage of the uncertainty to make money.

Obstructive sleep apnea has been linked to drowsy and distracted driving. Distracted driving is a factor in many truck accidents that result in injuries that can sometimes be fatal. Sleep apnea testing is one attempt to help prevent such accidents. However, there are currently a few sets of criteria available and doctors use one of these sets to determine if a driver should be referred for sleep apnea testing and treatment. Some drivers feel that they did not deserve referrals. A formal rule would determine what criteria should be used for referral and what type of treatment should be followed, providing clarity for the industry.

About tongue cancer

Oklahoma residents may be interested to know that tongue cancer is an oral cancer that could be misdiagnosed by a physician. It is found in the squamous cells on the surface of the front two-thirds portion of the tongue. Cancer that is present in the remaining one third of the tongue falls under the category of head and neck cancer.

Tongue cancer shares many symptoms with other forms of oral cancer. The condition can be misdiagnosed as a persistent cold or mouth sore. Continuous pain in the jaw or tongue, the inability to chew or swallow easily, difficulty with tongue or jaw movement and a lump in the mouth are just some of the symptoms associated with tongue cancer.

Crash safety and the size of a vehicle

Oklahoma drivers may be interested to know that the size of their vehicle plays an important role in traffic accidents. Larger vehicles typically endure accidents better small cars, particularly if the accident is a collision between large and small vehicles.

In the evaluation of a vehicle's safety, size and weight are included in the testing criteria along with material and structural strength. These factors are used to determine a vehicle's crashworthiness, regardless of how technologically up-to date the vehicle may or may not be.

Drivers lament the bad habits of others

Progressive Insurance recently released the results of a survey in which over 90 percent of respondents said that distracted driving should be made illegal. Overall, 65 percent of those who responded to the survey felt that texting or looking at a phone was a major cause of traffic accidents in Oklahoma and throughout the country. However, over a third of respondents also said that they felt they could safely text while driving.

Among respondents between the ages of 18 and 34, 62 percent said that they were confident that they could still drive while texting. Only 6 percent of those 55 or older shared that view. Men were more likely than women to believe that they could text while driving. However, both genders overwhelmingly agreed that distracted driving should not be allowed.

Court holds that disclosures without consent are malpractice

Medical malpractice in Oklahoma may take many forms, including disclosing confidential medical information about a patient without his or her consent. In a case in New Jersey, the court looked at whether or not the disclosure of confidential medical information to a third party by a doctor without a patient's consent was medical malpractice.

In the case, a man who was HIV-positive was receiving treatment for kidney failure from a nephrologist. The doctor disclosed the man's HIV-status to a third party who was in the room without the patient's consent. The man originally filed a lawsuit claiming that the doctor violated HIPAA, but he amended his complaint because there isn't a private cause of action under HIPAA.

Eye-tracking movements may point to TBIs

Many Oklahomans have incurred traumatic brain injuries. These injuries may be difficult to detect and may range in severity. Research shows that eye tracking movements may be used to identify TBIs, helping patients to receive the proper care and treatment.

Researchers began developing a technology in 2011 that detects eye-tracking issues. This technology looks at the types of damage that concussions can cause with eye tracking. One way is the buildup of intracranial pressure, which can disrupt eye movements. The other way a TBI can damage the eyes' ability to smoothly track objects is by disrupting specific neural pathways in the brain while not causing enough damage to cause elevated intracranial pressure.

Study finds safety benefits from collision avoidance systems

Oklahoma drivers who have collision avoidance systems in their vehicles may be less likely to be in a motor vehicle accident according to a study released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. For the purposes of the study, the IIHS vice-president of research examined data on more than 5,000 accidents taking place in 2015 that systems alerting the driver to blind spots and lane departure are supposed to prevent.

She found that in vehicles that had the warning system, there were 11 percent fewer accidents involving single-vehicle side swipes or head-on collisions and 21 percent fewer injury accidents of that kind. The organization reported that lane departure warning systems in all vehicles in 2015 would have resulted in over 55,000 fewer injuries.

Skin cancer requires prompt treatment

Oklahoma patients who have been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma should know that when physicians detect this form of skin cancer in its early stages, the prognosis is favorable. Mohs micrographic surgery produces a cure rate as high as 99 percent.

Excisional surgery represents another viable approach. Like most skin cancer treatments, it is an outpatient procedure. A physician will remove the growth with a scalpel. A border area of skin that appears normal will be taken off as well with the hope of excising any stray tumor cells. This method has achieved a cure rate of 92 percent on primary tumors.

Medical fat shaming can cause patients harm

According to research, Oklahoma doctors who fat shame their patients could actually be causing them both mental and physical harm. The findings suggest that medical fat shaming and disrespectful treatment could prevent a person from seeking medical care when he or she needs it in order to avoid interacting with the providers.

Researchers from Connecticut College analyzed multiple past studies that examined obesity and doctor bias. Additionally, they took patients' reports of disrespectful treatment and fat shaming into account. They found that not only did the act of medical fat shaming cause the patients to lose trust in their providers, it also had a significant negative impact on their health. Patients who refuse to seek treatment due to fat shaming experiences could experience worsening symptoms and potentially even life-threatening conditions.

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